NewslettersOctober 26th, 2021

PG#93: The simple pleasures of buying local

Hannah Stocks
Hannah Stocks, Principal Strategy and Innovation

Over the past few years we have become increasingly aware of where our food comes from. The ‘shopping local’ trend has only intensified over the last year and a half as those of us in lockdown became very familiar with the community within our 5km radius.

Many Australians felt a sense of duty to small businesses they knew were struggling to stay afloat. We became regulars at cafes and grocery stores and developed a strong sense of camaraderie with the friendly faces we saw each day. But there are a few factors I believe that have solidified a potentially permanent shift to shopping more locally.

We started cooking more. I’m not just talking about the people who started making sourdough in their spare time. With dining out removed as an option, we began cooking at home more and buying fresh produce regularly. As a result we realised that groceries taste better when they’re seasonal and haven't spent days in the back of a truck.

The hospitality industry got creative. Restaurants and cafes swiftly changed their service models, moving to takeaway or hosting masterclasses. Platforms like Fresho or Melbourne Food Squad started popping up, and suddenly as consumers, we now had access to restaurant quality fruit, veg and proteins at a wholesale price.

Our supply chain faltered. We’re currently experiencing a global supply chain crisis. But before we reached this point, we were already experiencing low supply in some of the larger supermarkets, as access to food from overseas and interstate became more difficult. We began to experience what it’s like to cook with what’s available rather than what you feel like.

If we continue to shop locally, we can support the growth of smaller producers of quality goods. Not only that, but we might reduce the amount of resources we expend shipping produce around the country and the world.

Even as things open up, let’s continue to enjoy the simple pleasures of visiting our favourite baristas, wandering local markets and enjoying home cooked meals.

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